The economic system that underpins our society has historically excluded and exploited many individuals based on their educational level, race, ethnicity, gender, legal status, language proficiency and so forth. Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) consequently have been left behind economically and access to basic resources, such as health, food and quality housing, is limited. Although these barriers have existed for generations, they have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and more alarmingly the recent mainstreaming of white nationalist movements and ideas.
The worker cooperative model has been proven to create quality jobs, wealth, ownership, and investment in community development. However, for worker cooperatives to develop and flourish, organizational capacity and support must be established. It is with that intent that the Co-op Ed Center was formed in 2018.
BIPOC Cooperative History
Our work is based on social justice values such as solidarity, racial and economic equity, and self-determination. We uplift ancestral cooperative practices of BIPOC communities rooted in the values of liberation, resilience, and autonomy. Co-op Ed Center is committed to honoring the history of BIPOC communities and the promise of worker cooperatives across communities in Chicagoland. Learn more about our programs here.
Solidarity Not Charity
We believe that transformation comes from the bottom-up. Those directly affected by our work can best determine needs and services. Therefore, we rely on the guidance and feedback of worker-owners in developing our programs.
We operate through a lens of racial equity and are committed to fostering cross-racial solidarity between BIPOC communities through worker-owned cooperatives. Since our inception, we have been intentional about creating spaces for communities to interact and form deeper relationships.
We believe that co-ops are an integral element of our vision; however they are only one part of the story. In our view, co-ops must be rooted in communities and connected with other value-driven institutions to fulfill the long term vision of the restorative economy.